Customer Relationship Management

Whenever a customer establishes contact with a business, through a call center or any other medium of communication, the business has a unique opportunity to create a favorable opinion in the customer’s mind. This favorable opinion will eventually lead to increased customer retention and more business. A good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is critical to keeping customer interactions fluid, meaningful, and friction free.

A lot of small and medium businesses do not currently have formal CRM systems. Many of them are still using manual methods to manage an ongoing relationship with their customers. Studies show that less than 25 percent of small and medium companies use formal CRM software. This represents a great opportunity. Businesses that switch to using CRM systems, and even integrate their CRM systems with their call center or their social media accounts, stand a good chance of differentiating themselves in the eyes of their customers. Read more.


Compare CRM Solution Providers

Bpm'Online

CRM for marketing, sales and service

Out-of-the-box best practice processes

A complete view of customer journey

Engaging interface that users love!

Average rating

4.7

Salesforce Sales Cloud

The World's #1 CRM Application

No Software, no headaches, no Hardware

Most Innovative CRM Company

Grow with the Customer Success Platform

Average rating

4.0

Infusionsoft

Small Business Sales & Marketing CRM

Automated All-in-One Sales & Marketing

List Management & Segmentation

e-Commerce Tools 

Average rating

3.7

Infor

Magic Quadrant Leader for MRM

Cross-Channel Campaign Management

No Install Mobile

Industry-Leading Integration

Average rating

2.9

Creedenz

Your Customizable CRM Solution

Use Existing Hardware & Software

Real-time Business Intelligence

Flexible Pricing Model

Average rating

4.0

NetSuite

Only Cloud CRM with 360° Customer View

One System For Your Entire Company

Automated Upsell and Cross Sell

No IT Maintenance and Upgrade Costs

Average rating

3.4

Sage

Know Your Business, Grow Your Business

Case Management & Knowledge base

Workflow and Campaign Management

Mailchimp Integration

Average rating

3.4

SAP

CRM for 21st-Century Sales Warriors

Up-to-the-Minute Customer Data

Location-Based Marketing

Collaborative Quote to Cash Solution

Average rating

3.5

Insightly

#1 Online Small Business CRM

Over 650,000 Users Worldwide

Integrated CRM and Project Management

Supports iPhone and Android devices

Average rating

4.0

SugarCRM

Discover a different kind of CRM

Sales automation and forecasting

Marketing lead management

Support automation

Average rating

3.4

Zoho CRM

Close more deals in less time.

360° View of Sales Cycle & Pipeline

Data-Driven Marketing

Over 50,000 Customers

Average rating

3.7

Act!

#1 Contact & Customer Manager

Group Dashboards and Reports

Integrated Emarketing Services

Enhanced Security Settings

Average rating

4.1

GreenRope

Take Command. Create Demand.

Demographic, Activity-Based Lead Scoring

Full Sales & Marketing Integration

Built-In Predictive Analytics

Average rating

4.2

Microsoft Dynamics

Essential Tools Salespeople Need

Social and Market Insights

Your Sales Office - Wherever, Whenever

Shared Workspace for Leads and Deals

Average rating

3.5

Oracle

Modern CRM: A Competitive Advantage

Consistent X-Channel Customer Experience

CRM-Enterprise Applications Integration

Industry-Specific Best Practices

Average rating

3.5

Nimble

First Intelligent Relationship Platform

Multi-User Account

Engagement Tools and Social Listening

Unified Inbox

Average rating

4.6

PipelineDeals

CRM for the Rest of Us.

Invite Unlimited Users

Nothing to Download, Install or Update

Unlimited storage

Average rating

4.4

Bullhorn

Industry-Leading Recruitment CRM System

Mobile-Powered Selling

Better Reports. Better Outcomes

ATS integration

Average rating

4.3

W5Templates

Productivity Made Simple

Excel-based CRM Solution

Easy to Use

Cost Effective

Not Yet Rated

Aplicor 3C

Built For Growing Companies

Instant Omnichannel Catch Net

Online Sales Quote Approvals

Integrated Cloud ERP, CRM & E-Commmerce

Average rating

3.7

Base

The All-In-One Sales Platform

Killer sales acceleration tools for sales teams

All-in-one sales & customer management platform

Out of the box big data insights

Average rating

4.2

C2CRM

Clearly different. Clearly Better.

Platform Independent

Enterprise-Wide Solution

Role-Based Implementation Methodology

Average rating

3.8

CRMnext

Capture, Retain, Grow Your Customer Base

Allows high codeless customization

Autobot upgrade to keep always current

Pattern-based integration capability

Not Yet Rated

Eptica

Transforming Customer Engagement

Over 400 customers in 15+ countries

Multichannel & multilingual interactions

Advanced linguistic analysis system

Average rating

3.0

Freshdesk

Customer happiness, refreshingly easy

Easy to use, quick to setup

Multi-channel support

Happy, engaged agents

Average rating

4.5

GoldMine

Managing Contacts for over 25 Years

Ranked Best in SMB CRM for Features

Affordable all-in-one solution

Seamless upgrades from earlier versions

Average rating

3.4

Lithium

Reinvent how you connect with customers

Direct connection via social channels

Respond and engage on social networks

Crowdsource ideas and innovation

Average rating

4.3

Maximizer CRM

Target. Engage. Succeed.

Advanced sales opportunity tracking

All contact info in one single view

Flexibility: our cloud or your cloud

Average rating

3.6

OnContact

Software That's Easy!

360° View Of Your Relationships

Seamless integration with QuickBooks

Unlimited CRM support and training

Average rating

3.8

PegaCRM

Innovative Technology, Proven Results

Integrated, intelligent automation

Easy creation of segmented services

Quickly create new processes without IT

Average rating

2.9

Pipedrive

CRM for small teams with big ambitions

See all deals in a visual sales pipeline

Sales forecasting for avoiding surprises

2-minute setup, no training required

Average rating

4.6

Pipeliner

CRM Revolutionized

1-Screen Opportunities & Sales Pipeline

Archive lost deals with all details

Drag & Drop Activities Task Board

Average rating

4.8

Prophet

A Complete CRM Inside Microsoft Outlook

CRM embedded right into MS Outlook

Sales Pipeline & Opportunity Management

GridView Reports to Better Sort Data

Average rating

4.1

TeamSupport

Built for B2B Customer Support

Consolidate ALL customer interactions

Auto-complete customer data for you

Customer Distress Index™

Average rating

4.2

TeamWox

Online Team Collaboration Software

Contacts & online sales management tools

Store documents, emails and discussions

Set up different access rights

Average rating

5.0

Verint

Powering Actionable Intelligence

Customer-centric business strategies

Fast, contextual personalized service

Analyze structured and unstructured data

Average rating

3.5

Workbooks.com

Say goodbye to spreadsheets and poor CRM

Give your sales a boost

Transform your marketing efforts

Streamline your sales order processing

Average rating

4.4

Zendesk

Innovative Customer Service

Embed customer service everywhere

Connect on the right channels

Provide in-the-moment mobile support

Average rating

4.4


CRM Buyer's Guide

Considering that a CRM solution is a strategic asset for any business, much thought and effort is invested into the selection process. Essentially, this consists of four important phases in the selection process. These are:

Define Your Business Needs

Businesses that plan to acquire new CRM software need to look at themselves closely so as to figure out what their pain points are. Typical problems could be:

Once business needs are understood with clarity, companies can begin to scan the solution space for appropriate solutions.

Ad-Hoc Solutions will Not Keep Pace

Less than 25% SMEs use a formal CRM solution. Other methods that are popularly in use are:

Most of these are ad-hoc methods of work and they will not be able to keep pace with growing numbers of customers and multiple channels of communication. Even companies that use proprietary solutions will find that these solutions will not interface with other enterprise class systems. This can be a critical shortcoming.

Key CRM Features

While CRM needs may vary somewhat with industry, there are certain features that are critical to most implementations. These are:

CRM: Budgeting & Hosting

In many ways budget and hosting decisions go together. Traditionally, CRM solutions were hosted in a company server. This meant buying the solution outright and is often referred to as an ‘on-premise’ solution. There were hardware costs as well. This meant substantial upfront costs which many businesses in the early part of of their lifecycle could not afford. This was also responsible for large numbers of SMBs using archaic methods of keeping track of customers.

Larger companies may still prefer an on-premise solution because it gives them better control over the software. They can customize it to their requirements (at a cost) and because it helps them overcome security concerns. Such companies generally have specialized IT staff that can handle all tasks associated with running the CRM and its database.

In the last few years, the data center and cloud based applications have emerged. Vendors now maintain a CRM solution in the Internet cloud (Software as a Service or SaaS) and users can take the required number of licenses. This model is based on a monthly payment and there is no expenditure on procuring software, servers, network components etc. Any PC / device that is connected to the Internet can be used. Costs can be a few hundred dollars a month. With this model businesses can use CRMs much earlier in their lifecycles. This is often referred to as a ‘hosted’ model because someone else is doing the hosting.

A hosted solution works best if the business needs a standard CRM solution that does not need to be customized considerably. The uptimes guaranteed by a hosting service are generally far better than what in-house systems can achieve. Besides, since they are accessed over the Internet, users can log in from anywhere. This helps support mobile workers and in disaster recovery. If office premises are not available due to any reason, users can log in from any other location with Internet access. Obviously, a hosted solution supports home based workers as well.

If you are a small business looking out for an affordable CRM solution, we strongly recommend going the hosted route.

Selecting a CRM Solution

If the business requirements were defined with clarity then it should be easy to determine a feature list. Most features you want must be connected to the problems you wanted to solve in the first place while the rest could be best practices designed to take the business forward.

Even after you have created a feature list grid and shortlisted vendors and solutions, there may be several choices. It is recommended that the following may also be considered before making a final selection -

Starting the solution search by understanding business needs may seem like an obvious thing to do, but many managers get fixated on the feature list and assume that the features listed will meet the requirements of the people who will work with the CRM daily. While most solutions will have a large percent of features any business needs, only a detailed trial and demo can bring out details of the true capability of the solution and its compatibility with the business.

A careful and deliberate CRM selection process will ensure your business gets the best out of the CRM solution.